Authors: , , , ,


Lipedema is a chronic disease seen frequently in women that causes abnormal fat deposition in the lower limbs and associated bruising and pain. Despite increasing knowledge concerning lipedema, there are still aspects of diagnosis that need further investigation. We performed a prospective, observational cohort study to describe prevalence of clinical characteristics present in patients with lipedema in an attempt to establish diagnostic criteria. Participants were consecutive patients with lipedema presenting at a public hospital in Spain from September 2012 to December 2019. Patients were examined for the following signs and symptoms of lipedema: symmetrical involvement; disproportion between the upper and lower part of the body; sparing of the feet; pain; bruising; Stemmer' sign; pitting test; fibrosis; venous insufficiency; upper limbs involvement; vascular spiders; skin coldness; and lymphangitis attacks. In addition, orthopedic alterations were examined in all patients. We recruited 138 patients (median age=47.6 years; mean BMI=29.9 Kg/m2). Using waist-to-height-ratio, 41.3% of the patients were slim or healthy. The most frequent type of lipedema was Type III (71%), and most were in stage 1 and 2. The features of lipedema with a prevalence >80% were symmetrical involvement, unaffected feet, pain, bruising, vascular spiders, and disproportion. Pain was nociceptive in 60.2% and neuropathic in 33.1%, and there was a reduced social or working activities in 37.9%. Orthopedic alterations including cavus-feet or valgus-knees were observed in 1/3 of the patients. X-ray of the knees was performed in 63 patients and knee osteoarthritis diagnosed in 37. We found that the most frequent manifestations of lipedema were bilateral involvement, unaffected feet, pain, easy bruising, vascular spiders, and disproportion between the upper and lower parts of the body. These should be considered as major criteria for diagnosis. In addition, our findings on the prevalence of orthopedic alterations in patients with lipedema highlights the need for a multidisciplinary and integrated approach.

Keywords: lipedema, diagnosis, pain, orthopedic alterations, obesity

How to Cite: Forner-Cordero, I. , Pérez-Pomares, M. , Forner, A. , Ponce-Garrido, A. & Muñoz-Langa, J. (2022) “PREVALENCE OF CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS AND ORTHOPEDIC ALTERATIONS IN PATIENTS WITH LIPEDEMA: A PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY”, Lymphology. 54(4). doi: